Friday, February 15, 2013


Vatican City, 15 February 2013 (VIS) – Following are ample extracts from the Holy Father's warm and friendly chat yesterday with the clergy of Rome, which was held in the Paul VI Hall.
"We went to the Council not just with joy, but enthusiastically. There was an incredible expectation. We hoped that everything would be renewed, that a new Pentecost, a new era in the Church, had truly arrived, … rediscovering the bond between the Church and the world’s best elements, to open humanity's future, to begin real progress. We began to get to know one another ... and it was an experience of the Church's universality and of the Church's concrete reality, which wasn't limited to receiving orders from on high but of growing and advancing together, under the direction of the Successor of Peter naturally." The questions put to the Council Fathers dealt with "the reform of the liturgy, ... ecclesiology, ... the Word of God, Revelation, … and, finally, ecumenism."
"In retrospect, I think that it was very good to begin with the liturgy, showing God's primacy, the primacy of adoration. … The Council spoke of God and this was its first act: speaking of God and opening everything to the people, opening the adoration of God to the entire holy people, in the common celebration of the liturgy of the Body and Blood of Christ. … The principles came later: comprehensibility, so as not to be locked in an unknown and unspoken language, and active participation. Unfortunately, sometimes these principles are misunderstood. Comprehensibility does not mean triviality because the great texts of the liturgy?even when they are, thanks be to God, in one's mother tongue?are not easily understandable. Ongoing formation is necessary for Christians to grow and enter more deeply into the mystery so they might understand."
"The second theme: the Church. … We wanted to say and to understand that the Church is not an organization, not just some structural, legal, or institutional thing?which it also is?but an organism, a living reality that enters into my soul and that I myself, with my very soul, as a believer, am a constitutive element of the Church as such. … The Church isn't a structure. We ourselves, Christians together, we are the living Body of the Church. Of course, this is true in the sense that we, the true 'we' of believers, together with the 'I' of Christ, are the Church; each one of us is not 'a we' but a group that calls itself Church."
"The first idea was to present the ecclesiology in a theological format, but continuing structurally, that is to say, alongside the succession of Peter, in its unique role, to better define the role of bishops and the episcopal body. In order to do this we found that the word 'collegiality' was very intensely debated, somewhat exaggeratedly I would say. But it was the word … to express that the bishops, together, are the continuation of the Twelve, of the group of Apostles. We said: only one bishop, the bishop of Rome, is the successor of the particular apostle, Peter … Thus the group of Bishops, the College, is the continuation of the Twelve and has its needs, its role, its rights, and its duties."
"Another question in the ecclesiastical sphere was the definition of the concept of the 'people of God', which implies the continuity of the Testaments, the continuity of the history of God with the world, with humanity, and also implies the 'Christological element'. Only through Christology are we converted into the People of God and thus two concepts are united. The council decided to create a Trinitarian structure to the ecclesiology: the People of God the Father, the Body of Christ, and the Temple of the Holy Spirit. … The link between the People of God and the Body of Christ is, effectively, communion with Christ in the Eucharistic union. Thus we become the Body of Christ, that is, the relationship between the People of God and the Body of Christ creates a new reality: communion."
"On the question regarding Revelation, the fulcrum was the relationship between Scripture and Tradition. … Certainly, what is important is that the Scriptures are the Word of God and the Church is subject to the Scriptures, obeys the Word of God, and is not above Scripture. Nevertheless, the Scriptures are only such because there is a living Church, its living subject. Without the living subject of the Church, Scripture is only a book open to different interpretations and gives no definitive clarity." In this sense, "Pope Paul VI's intervention was decisive," with his proposal of the formula "nos omnis certitudo de veritatibus fidei potest sumi ex Sacra Scriptura", that is, "the Church's certainty on the faith is not only born of an isolated book, but needs the enlightened subject of the Church, which brings the Holy Spirit. Only thus can Scripture speak and from this springs all its authority."
"And, finally, ecumenism. I don't want to go into these problems now, but it was obvious that?especially after the 'passion' of Christians during the age of Nazism?that Christians could find unity, or could at least look for it, but it was also clear that only God can give unity. And we are still continuing along this path."
"The second part of the Council was much broader. The theme, arising with great urgency, was today's world, the modern age and the Church, and with it issues of the responsibility of the construction of this world, of society, responsibility for the future of this world and eschatological hope; Christian ethical responsibility … as well as religious freedom, progress, and relations with other religions. At that time, the entire Council, not just the United States, whose people are very concerned with religious freedom, really joined in the discussion … Latin America also joined in strongly, knowing the misery of the people of a Catholic continent and the responsibility of the faith for the situation of these persons. And thus Africa, Asia likewise saw the need for interreligious dialogue. … The great document 'Gaudium et Spes' analysed the problem between Christian eschatology and worldly progress, including the responsibility of tomorrow's society and Christian responsibilities in the face of eternity, and also the renewal of Christian ethics. … The basis for dialogue is in difference, in diversity, in the faith of the uniqueness of Christ who is one, and it is not possible for a believer to think that religions are variations on the same theme. No. There is a reality of the living God who has spoken and who is one God, an incarnate God, therefore one word of God who is truly the Word of God. But there is also a religious experience, with a certain human light on creation, and therefore it is necessary and possible to enter into dialogue and so to open oneself to others and to open all to God peace, all His children, all His family."
"I would like to add still a third point... the Council of the media. It was almost a Council itself and the world saw the Council through it. The 'Council of the journalists', of course was not carried out within the faith but within the categories of today's media. That is to say, it was outside of the faith, with a different hermeneutic … a political hermeneutic. For the media, the Council was a political struggle, a power struggle between the Church's different strands. … There was a triple problem: the Pope's power transferred to the power of the bishops and to the power of all: popular sovereignty. The same thing happened with the liturgy. They were not interested in the liturgy as an act of faith but as something where things are made understandable, a type of communal activity. … These translations, the trivialization of the idea of the Council were virulent in the practice of applying liturgical reform; a vision of the Council outside of its proper interpretation, that of faith, was born."
"We know that this Council of the media was accessible to all. Thus it was the dominant one, the most efficient one, and it created a lot of calamities, problems, and misfortunes. … The true Council found it difficult to make its thought concrete and actual. The virtual Council was stronger than the real council. But the Council's strength was present and, little by little, it became more and more actual, becoming the true force that is, after true reform, the Church's true renewal. It seems to me that, after 50 years, we see how the virtual Council has broken down, been lost, and the authentic Council appears in all its spiritual strength."
Vatican City, 15 February 2013 (VIS) – This morning, the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience His Excellency Mr. Traian Basescu, president of Romania. President Basescu then met with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., secretary of State of His Holiness, accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.
During the talks, which were held in a cordial atmosphere, the good relations between Romania and the Holy See were discussed. In particular, the successful cooperation on a European level to safeguard common values was highlighted and prospects for cooperation between the Catholic Church and the Romanian State in the area of education were addressed.
Issues continuously affecting Catholic communities in Romania were not overlooked and the Catholic Church's contribution in integrating Romanian communities abroad was given recognition.
Vatican City, 15 February 2013 (VIS) – This morning, in the Hall of Popes, Benedict XVI received members of the "Pro Petri Sede" Association from the countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, which annually offers economic assistance for the needs of the Holy See.
In his address, the Holy Father said that the Year of Faith "invites us to a genuine conversion to our Lord Jesus Christ, the one Saviour of the world. Accepting the revelation of God's salvific love in our lives by means of the faith calls our entire existence to be modelled on the radical newness that Christ's resurrection introduces in the world. Faith is a living reality that must be constantly discovered and deepened so that it might grow."
"Faith," the Pope concluded, "must guide Christians' gaze and action. It is a new criterion of understanding and action that changes one's entire life. As I said in the Apostolic Letter 'Porta fidei', the Year of Faith is an opportune moment to intensify the witness of charity: 'Faith without charity bears no fruit, while charity without faith would be a sentiment constantly at the mercy of doubt. Faith and charity each require the other, in such a way that each allows the other to set out along its respective path'. "
Vatican City, 15 February 2013 (VIS) – According to a communique published today, the Commission of Cardinals for the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR) has made an appointment, in accordance with the Institute’s statutes, of a new president of the Supervisory Board, Ernst von Freyberg. The other four members of the Supervisory Board will all remain in office.
"This decision is the result of extensive evaluation and a series of interviews that the Commission of Cardinals has conducted, with the constant support of the Supervisory Board. This painstaking and detailed process lasted for some months, making it possible to assess a number of candidates of professional and moral excellence, with assistance from an independent international Agency that is a leader in the selection of top executives."
"The Holy Father has closely followed the entire selection process leading to the choice of the new President of the Supervisory Board of the IOR, and he has expressed his full consent to the choice made by the Commission of Cardinals."
Included in the information is Mr. von Freyberg's curriculum. He was born in Germany in 1958 and from 1978 to 1985 he studied law at the universities of Munich and Bonn. From 1986 to 1987 he attended the Verwaltungshochschule Speyer. In 1988 he earned admission to the Bar at Landgericht, Ulm and passed the second law exam at Oberlandesgericht, Stuttgart. From 1988 to 1991 he worked for TCR Europe Limited (Bemberg Group), Three City Research Inc., and from 1991 to 2012 he founded and served as CEO of Daiwa Corporate Advisory GmbH. From 2012 to the present he has been with Blohm+Voss Group in Hamburg, Germany, serving as its chairman.
Mr. von Freyberg is an active member of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta. He is co-leader of the Association for Pilgrimages to Lourdes of the Archdiocese of Berlin. He is founder and member of Freyberg Stiftung since its creation in 2009. This foundation supports three Catholic organizations in France, Germany, and Austria, the FreiligrathSchule (primary school in Frankfurt) providing student scholarships. He is also a member of the supervisory board of Flossbach von Storch AG, a Cologne based asset management firm. He is a member of the advisory board of Manpower GmbH, a temporary work service firm in Germany.
Mr. von Freyberg brings with him a vast experience of financial matters and the financial regulatory process.
Vatican City, 15 February 2013 (VIS) - This morning, the Holy Father received in audience seven prelates from the Liguria region of the Italian Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:
- Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa,
- Bishop Martino Canessa of Tortona,
- Bishop Mario Oliveri of Albenga-Imperia,
- Bishop Alberto Maria Careggio of Ventimiglia-San Remo,
- Bishop Alberto Tanasini of Chiavari,
- Bishop Luigi Ernesto Palletti of La Spezia-Sarzana-Brugnato, and
- Bishop Vittorio Lupi of Savona-Noli.
Vatican City, 15 February 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father appointed Fr. Friedrich Bechina, F.S.O., official of the Congregation for Catholic Education, as under-secretary of that congregation.


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT - SHARE
15 Feb 2013

British PM David Cameron paid tribute to Benedict's tireless work to strengthen British relations
Ever since Pope Benedict XVI made his surprise announcement on the eve of Ash Wednesday that due to his advancing age and increasing frailty he would step down as Pontiff in just over two weeks time, world leaders, politicians - Catholics and non Catholics - have paid tribute to his humility, compassion, his outstanding scholarship and brilliance as a theologian as well as his ability to reach out to all people during his eight year Papacy.
"The United States is grateful to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI for his leadership of and ministry to the world's 1.3 billion Catholics," said John Kerry, USA's newly-appointed Secretary of State describing the 85-year-old Holy Father as "a man of action and principle, working to promote human rights and dignity in places around the globe where they have too often been denied."
President Obama also paid tribute to Pope Benedict XVI recalling how much he and his wife Michelle remembered their meeting with the Pontiff in 2009. In extending his appreciation and prayers to His Holiness on behalf of Americans everywhere, the President pointed out the critical role played by the Catholic Church not only in the USA but throughout the world.

Pope Benedict XV1 with Queen Elizabeth
One of the first to speak after the German-born Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation was German Chancellor, Angela Merkel who said she had the greatest respect for the difficult decision made by the Holy Father. She then went on to describe him as "one of the most significant religious thinkers of our time."
In the Middle East where Pope Benedict made his historic visit to Israel and the divided city of Jerusalem in 2009, the Chief Rabbi of Israel, Yona Metzger said the Holy Father had done much to improve ties between Judaism and Christianity, which he credited with helping reduce anti-Semitism around the world.
South Africa's Archbishop of Pretoria, William Slattery said the continent's 170 million Catholics would remember the Pope fondly. He admitted that although the news had taken him and South Africans by surprise, people understood the reasons he gave for moving on and praised him for his courage and humility in making this decision.
The newly-elected Archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the Anglican Church, the Most Rev Justin Welby also praised the Papacy of Pope Benedict XVI and recalled how in 2010 he became the first Pope in history to make a State Visit to England.
The Archbishop said he fully sympathized with the Holy Father's decision to step down as Pope, praising him for conducting his Papacy with "great dignity, insight and courage." Archbishop Welby also asked the 80 million strong Anglicans in his care to pray God to bless Benedict XVI in his retirement as well as those entrusted with the task of choosing his successor.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel describes Pope Benedict as one of the great thinkers of the age.
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron was also profound in his praise of Pope Benedict's eight year Papacy and said the octogenarian would be "missed as a spiritual leader to millions" and paid tribute to his "tireless work to strengthen British relations with the Holy See."
One of the most glowing tributes came from Brazil's Conference of Catholic bishops who hailed the Pontiff for his "humility and greatness."
Others internationally who were quick to pay tribute to Pope Benedict XVI included the President of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald Lander who praised his eight years as Pope which he said had "elevated Catholic-Jewish relations to an unprecedented level." He also said Pope Benedict had visited more synagogues than any other Pope in history.
The Secretary General of Mexico's Episcopal Conference, Bishop Eugenio Lira Rugarcia said that although the Pope appeared physically diminished on his trip to South America in March last year, his leadership, faith and ability to inspire had remained undiminished.

Pope Benedict prays at the Western Wall in Jerusalem on his historic tour of Israel in 2009
"Benedict XVI has been a completely open and transparent man and this decision must have been very hard," he said and praised the Pontiff for always acting firmly and clearly and never trembling or backing away from a difficult decision.
Among the many who have paid tribute to the Pontiff over the past few days have been economists who have praised Pope Benedict not only for his grasp of economics but for his ground breaking and far reaching Caritas in Veritate Encyclical.
Professor Philip Booth, Professor at London's prestigious Cass Business School in London says the Pope was very clear on his economic ideas and had a wise understanding of the problems facing the welfare state.
In the Pontiff's encyclical of 2009 the Pontiff said there would always be suffering which cried out for consolation and help. But he pointed out if a state provided everything, absorbing everything into itself, it would ultimately become a mere bureaucracy and incapable of guaranteeing the very things the suffering person needs - mainly, loving personal concern.

Newly appointed Archbishop of Canterbury paid tribute to Pope Benedict XVI on behalf of the world's Anglicans
"We do not need a state which regulates and controls everything," Pope Benedict wrote and said "Solidarity as a virtue was far superior to an instrusive welfare state."
The encyclical also won wide praise from both economists and politicians for Benedict XVI's insistence that the state's role was to serve and "family and civil society must always take priority over the state."


Archbishop Hart's statement on Pope's resignation

Monday 11 February 2013

Archbishop Denis Hart, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Archbishop of Melbourne released the following statement tonight:

'Pope Benedict has announced that because of advanced age and failing strength he is unable to fulfil the heavy demands of office, and in full freedom, he will resign on 28 February.

'After a lifetime of service as an eminent theologian and teacher, he was elected Pope in April 2005. Millions of Catholics are grateful for his holiness and teaching, and are encouraged by his gentle and loving service.

'As he retires to a life of prayer for the Church, we remember with gratitude and prayer his faithfulness to the call given him as Vicar of Christ and chief pastor of the universal Church.'

As President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Archbishop Denis Hart spoke to the media about the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.

To Listen to the Archbishop's interview with Jon Faine on 774 ABC click HERE
To watch the Archbishop's interview on ABC News 24's Breakfast program click HERE

Here is the Vatican's English translation of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation remarks, delivered in Latin, during an ordinary public consistory to approve the canonization of new saints on 11 February 2013.
Dear brothers,
I have convoked you to this consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today's world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the barque of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of bishop of Rome, successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a conclave to elect the new supreme pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.
Dear brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the holy church to the care of our supreme pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the cardinal fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new supreme pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the holy church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.
From the Vatican,
Pope Benedict XVI


Following Pope Benedict XVI's announcement of his resignation on Monday, many are now speculating on what is going to happen next. This new and completely up-to-date publication takes you step by step through what happens until the election of the new Pope.
Written by expert Monsignor Charles Burns, Ecclesiastical Adviser at the British Embassy to the Holy See, this free downloadable book from the Catholic Truth Society, is an easily accessible and authoritative explanation of what happens, when and why.
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CISA NEWS REPORT SHARE - NAIROBI, February 15, 2013 (CISA) Deputy Presidential candidates were unanimous on the sanctity of life and believed that life begins from conception. They have agreed that abortion should not be tolerated, and supported the Kenyan constitution that outlaws abortion, except in circumstances where the mother’s life is in danger.
Hon Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka from the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) assured Kenyans that, “With regard to the very important matter of abortion, I personally hold the view which again is clearly elaborated in the constitution, that life begins at conception. Not only that, every human being has a right to life… I am opposed to abortion because abortion is killing a child.” However, he agreed that abortion should only be done if the life of a mother is at stake and only a trained professional should perform it to save the life of the mother.
Shem Ochuodho, the deputy presidential candidate for the Safina Party, Jeremiah Kioni from the Amani Coalition, Ronnie Osumba from the Eagle Alliance, Joshua Onono, from the Alliance for Real Change Party and Winnie Kaburu, from RBK party agreed with Mr Kalonzo.
William Ruto stated that his position and that of the Jubilee Party is that abortion is unconstitutional and there should be no grey area allowing the murder of the child or the mother.
“I am a catholic by faith and I will take the position of the Catholic Church,” stated Augustine Lotodo. He said that there should be no abortion; however, he reiterated that because we live in a democracy, the majority will take the day in decisions that concern morals. He urged the public to convince the rest that abortion and homosexuality is not right.
The candidates had similar sentiments on the issue of same sex marriages. They unanimously condemned same sex marriages.
Kalonzo Musyoka said, “In article 5 of our constitution, marriage is defined as a relationship that occurs between a man and a woman, and that I uphold.”
They were speaking during a Deputy Presidential debate organized by religious media stations, Kenya Broadcasting Cooperation, KBC, the national broadcaster and Daystar University held on Thursday February 14. The debate was enshrined on religious values and morals in society and was broadcast live on several Christian media stations and the national broadcaster, KBC.
The Deputy Presidential candidates agreed that corruption is a major disease in the country that needs to be addressed and fought. All the candidates pledged that their parties were ready to fight corruption, and they had established methods that will be used to uproot corruption from its roots. In addition, the candidates agreed that upholding marriage and family values was important, and they would endeavour to support such values. They added that they would work together with the church to ensure that proper laws were put in place to safeguard the morality of Kenya.
The debate was organized in light of the coming General Elections in Kenya scheduled for March 4th and was moderated by Ms Catherine Achieng’a while Sr Agnes Lucy Lando, Director Ukweli Video Productions was the Master of Ceremony.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - "We are 25% of Brazil's population, about 50 million people, immersed in a digital world, lacking public policies that see young people not only as a problem or a transition group, but as protagonists of a strategic development. We must promote youth policies that see youth as an active subject of law," said Rodrigo Crivelaro, president of the Municipal Council of the youth of Santa Barbara Oest (SP) and representative of the Youth Pastoral (PJ), on the occasion of the launch of the Fraternity Campaign 2013.
A note sent to Fides by the PMS in Brazil, reports that the Fraternity Campaign 2013, under the slogan "Brotherhood and Youth", was presented by the Secretary of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, Msg. Leonardo Ulrich Steiner as a "Lenten march ", a period of personal and communal conversion. Msg. Ulrich Steiner, said that this initiative which started in 1964 in the Archdiocese of Natal (RN) has "become a journey of personal, community and social conversion, and proposes issues of great importance for the Church and the Brazilian society."
The Brotherhood Campaign 2013 falls into a special context for the preparation, in all the dioceses of the XXVII World Youth Day to be held in July in Rio de Janeiro. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 15/02/2013)


by Mathias Hariyadi
Three Protestant churches were attacked at dawn. Unknown assailants who arrived on motorbikes threw Molotov cocktails against the buildings. The attack lasted an hour and follows a similar incident a few days ago. Observers fear an escalation in sectarian violence as part of a political plan to destabilise the country.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Indonesian authorities have appealed for calm after a number of Christian places of worship were attacked in Makassar, capital of South Sulawesi. In Jakarta, the central government is particularly concerned to avoid an escalation that might lead to sectarian violence.

Three Protestant churches were attacked with Molotov cocktails by unknown assailants. Although there was little damage, the incident has raised concerns that they are part of some political plan to heighten sectarian tensions in order to destabilise the country's political institutions and thus undermine coexistence in the world's most populous Muslim country.

The attack occurred in central Makassar at dawn yesterday, St Valentine's Day, which is a controversial celebration in the Muslim nation. Riding their motorcycles, unidentified attackers three flammable devices at the different places of worship over the period of an hour.

The first church that was hit belongs to the GKI (Indonesian Christian Church), on Samiun Road (pictured). This was followed by an attack against the Toraja Church on AP Pettarani Road and finally a third Protestant church in Gatot. Local sources report that no one was hurt and the three buildings suffered only minor damages.

A police spokesperson in Jakarta said that the attack was connected to attempts by Muslim extremists to heighten sectarian sentiments and fuel religious conflict.

In light of the situation, Indonesian State Intelligence Agency Chief General Marciano Norman appealed to residents to stay calm, urging them not to respond to provocations from any group.

Home to an important university, Makassar has over the years become a major tourist and trading centre. For a long time, it was an island of peace and calm.

Things began changing last year when Muslim extremists three a homemade device against South Sulawesi Governor Sahrul Yasril Limpo. Earlier this year, two Muslim extremists were killed in a shootout with police at a local mosque. And this Monday, unidentified attackers firebombed the Toraja Mamassa Protestant church, causing minor damage.

Sulawesi Island and neighbouring Maluku Islands are not new to bloodshed. Between 1997 and 2001, violence broke out pitting Muslims against Christians. Thousands of people were affected. Homes, churches and mosques were destroyed. An estimated half a million people became homeless, including 25,000 in the city of Polo alone.

The violence came to a formal end on 20 December 2001, when Christian and Muslim leaders signed a truce in Malino, South Sulawesi, worked out by the government.

This however did not stop all acts of violence. Perhaps one of the worst was the beheading by Muslim extremists of three Christian schoolgirls in October 2005.



Matthew 9: 14 - 15
14 Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?"
15 And Jesus said to them, "Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.


St. Claude de la Colombiere
Feast: February 15

Feast Day:February 14
2 February 1641 at Saint-Symphorien d’Ozon, Rhône, France
Died:15 February 1682 at Paray-le-Monial, Saône-et-Loire, France
31 May 1992 by Pope John Paul II in Rome
Major Shrine:Monastery of the Visitation nuns at Paray-le-Monial
Patron of:toy makers, turners
Claude de la Colombiere is best known for his association with St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and the devotion of the Sacred Heart, but his life has its own drama. He was sent to England after his spiritual direction of St. Margaret Mary was over and became embroiled in the Titus Oates "Popish Plot," was imprisoned, then banished from England. His story is part of the history of the seventeenth century.

He was born near Lyons in 1641 and entered the Society of Jesus at Avignon. After his novitiate, he taught grammar and the humanities. Even before his ordination to the priesthood, he gained a reputation as a preacher. After completing his studies in Paris, he became tutor to the sons of Colbert, the financial minister of Louis XIV, but was dismissed from his post and returned to Avignon.
In 1675, after his solemn profession as a Jesuit, he was appointed superior at Paray-le-Monial, in which the convent of St. Margaret Mary was located. Here he became her spiritual director, encouraged her in the spread of the devotion to the Sacred Heart, and was described by our Lord as His "faithful and perfect friend."
Because of his remarkable gifts and judgment, he was sent to England, to be court preacher to the duchess of York, wife of the future James II, and took up residence in London. His radiant personality and splendid gifts were noted by everyone. When the alleged "Popish Plot" to assassinate King Charles II shook the country, Blessed Claude was accused of complicity in the plot and imprisoned. Through the intervention of Louis XIV of France, he was released, then banished from the country. He spent his last years at Paray-le-Monial, his health broken.
He died on February 15, 1682, an apostle of the devotion to the Sacred Heart, and was beatified in 1929.
Thought for the Day: Blessed Claude was an amazingly gifted man, and he recognized that his gifts should be put at the service of others. He spent himself in the service of Christ and was chosen to direct someone with an important mission to the Church. Let us emulate Claude and place our gifts at the service of others.
From 'The Catholic One Year Bible': . . . "Come, follow me! And I will make you fishermen for the souls of men!" At once they left their nets and went along with him.-Mark 1:17-18



Vatican City, 14 February 2013 (VIS) – This morning in the Paul VI Audience Hall, the Pope met with pastors and clergy of the Diocese of Rome, accompanied by Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general, and the auxiliary bishops of the diocese. Before entering the hall, they had processed into St. Peter's Basilica to make a profession of faith at the altar of the Chair.
Benedict XVI was greeted with the hymn "Tu es Petrus". "Thank you all for your affection, for your love for the Church and the Pope. Thank you!" the Pope said, before being greeted by Cardinal Vallini.
"For me, it is a special gift of Providence," he continued afterwards, "that, before leaving the Petrine ministry, I am able to see my clergy, the clergy of Rome, one more time. It is always a great joy to see how the Church lives, how it is alive in Rome. We have pastors who, in the spirit of the Supreme Pastor, guide the Lord's flock. It is a truly catholic clergy, that is to say, a universal clergy, and this is the same essence of the Church in Rome: to bring universality, catholicity, to all peoples, all races, and all cultures."
"Today you have professed the Creed at the tomb of St. Peter. In the Year of Faith this seems to me a very appropriate, and perhaps necessary, gesture that the clergy of Rome gather around the tomb of the Apostle to whom the Lord said: 'I entrust my Church to you. On you I will build my Church'. Before the Lord, together with Peter, you have professed: 'You are Christ, the Son of the living God.' Thus the Church grows, together with Peter, professing Christ, following Christ. It is what we always do. I am very grateful for your prayers, which I have felt, as I said on Wednesday, almost physically. Even though I am now retiring, I will always be near to all of you in prayer and I am also sure that all of you will be near to me, even if I am hidden from the world."
Then the Pope spoke to those present in the Paul VI Hall about his personal experience during Vatican Council II, as the priests had requested of him.
Vatican City, 14 February 2013 (VIS) – Yesterday at 5:00pm, the Holy Father presided over the rite of blessing and imposition of ashes. Traditionally, the celebration is held in the Roman Basilica of Santa Sabina but, given the large influx of persons and the desire of the cardinals and bishops of the Roman Curia to accompany the Pope in the final acts of his pontificate, it was moved to St. Peter's Basilica. Before the ceremony, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., address a brief greeting to the pontiff, expressing the "emotion and respect not only of the Church, but of the entire world" for Benedict XVI on the news of his decision to renounce the Petrine ministry. Following are ample excerpts from the Holy Father's homily.
"Today, Ash Wednesday, … we have gathered to celebrate the Eucharist following the ancient Roman tradition of Lenten station Masses. This tradition calls for the first 'statio' Mass to take place in the Basilica of Santa Sabina on the Aventine Hill. Circumstances, however, have suggested that we gather in the Vatican Basilica. We are great in number around the tomb of the Apostle Peter, also to ask for his intercession for the Church's journey in this particular moment, renewing our faith in the Supreme Pastor, Christ the Lord. For me, this is a opportune occasion to thank everyone, especially the faithful of the Diocese of Rome, as I prepare to conclude my Petrine ministry, and to ask for special remembrance in your prayers."
"The readings that have been proclaimed give us the idea that, with God's grace, we are called to make our attitudes and behaviours take concrete form this Lent. Above all, the Church proposes to us once again, the strong appeal that the prophet Joel addresses to the Israelites: Thus says the Lord: 'return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning'. Note the expression 'with your whole heart', which means from the centre of our thoughts and feelings, from the roots of our decisions, choices, and actions, with a gesture of total and radical freedom. But is this return to God possible? Yes, because there is a strength that doesn't reside in our hearts but that springs from God's own heart. It is the power of His mercy. … This return to God becomes a concrete reality in our lives only when the Lord's grace penetrates to our innermost being, shaking it and giving us the strength to 'rend our hearts'. Again the prophet makes God's words ring out: 'Rend your hearts, not your garments'. Indeed, even in our days, many are ready to 'rend their garments' in the face of scandals and injustice?naturally moved by others' situations?but few seem willing to act on their own 'heart', on their own conscience, and their own intentions, to let the Lord transform, renew, and convert them."
"That 'return to me with your whole heart' then is a reminder that involves not just the individual but the community. In the first reading we have heard: 'Blow the horn in Zion! Proclaim a fast, call an assembly!' … The dimension of community is an essential element in faith and the Christian life. … This is important to remember and to live in this Lenten period: each of us must be aware that the path of penitence is not to be faced alone, but together with our many brothers and sisters in the Church."
"Finally, the prophet focuses on the prayers of the priests who, with tears in their eyes, turn to God saying: 'do not let your heritage become a disgrace, a byword among the nations! Why should they say among the peoples, "Where is their God?"' This prayer makes us reflect on the importance of the witness of faith and the Christian life on the part of each of us and our communities to reveal the face of the Church as well as how this face, at times is disfigured. I'm thinking in particular of the blows to Church unity and the divisions in the ecclesial body. Living Lent in a more intense and evident ecclesial communion, overcoming selfishness and rivalries, is a humble and precious sign for those who are far from the faith or indifferent to it."
"'Behold, now is the time of favour; behold, now is the day of salvation', The Apostle Paul's words to the Christians of Corinth resound for us too, with an urgency that allows for no omissions or inactivity. The word 'now', repeated again and again, says that we cannot let this moment pass us by, it is offered to us as a unique and unrepeatable opportunity. The Apostle's gaze focuses on the sharing that Christ wanted to characterize his existence, taking on everything human even to the point of bearing the very burden of humanity's sin. … The reconciliation offered to us has had a high price, that of the cross raised on Golgotha, on which was hung the Son of God made man. God's immersion in human suffering and in the abyss of evil lies at the root of our justification. 'Returning to God with our whole heart' during our Lenten journey passes through the Cross, following Christ on the road to Calvary, to the total gift of our self. …"
"In the Gospel of Matthew, part of the so-called Sermon on the Mount, Jesus refers to three fundamental practices required by Mosaic Law: almsgiving, prayer, and fasting. They are also traditional directives on the Lenten journey to respond to the invitation to 'return to God with our whole heart'. But Jesus emphasizes that it is both the quality and the truth of the relationship with God that determine the authenticity of every religious gesture. This is why He denounces religious hypocrisy, the behaviour that wants to appear a certain way, the attitudes seeking applause and approval. The true disciple doesn't serve himself or the 'public', but serves the Lord in simplicity and generosity. … Our witness, then, will always be more effective the less we seek our own glory and we will know that the reward of the just person is God himself, being united to Him, here, on the path of faith and at the end of our lives, in the peace and light of meeting Him face to face forever."
Vatican City, 14 February 2013 (VIS) – Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Prefect of the Prefecture of the Papal Household and secretary to Benedict XVI, will continue to carry out both roles and will thus accompany the Pope during his stay at Castel Gandolfo and at the monastery that he will retire to after his resignation from the papacy. The papal household, or "memores", which has served the Holy Father during these past eight years will also move to the same monastery. This was among the information given by Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office in today's press briefing.
Fr. Lombardi also clarified that the cardinals arriving in Rome before 1 March, the official start of the Sede vacante, will not reside in the Casa Santa Marta residence until that date. At the same time he commented that the pontiff's fall during the trip to Mexico last year was not a determining factor in his decision to renounce the Petrine ministry, nor was the report of the commission of three cardinals (Julian Herranz, Jozef Tomko, and Salvatore De Giorgi), which the Pope instituted last April to carry out an internal investigation on the leak of documents.
Vatican City, 14 February 2013 (VIS) – The Governorate of Vatican City State and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Italy have signed, at the ministry's offices, a memorandum of understanding regarding use of the "Passetto di Borgo", that is, the covered corridor atop the walls joining the Vatican to Castel Sant'Angleo, and the Watchtower of that monument.
Signing for the Holy See was Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Governorate of Vatican City State, and, on behalf of the Italian Republic, Lorenzo Ornaghi, Italy's Minister of Culture.
The memorandum?following in line with the Exchange of (Diplomatic) Notes between Italy and the Holy See in 1991 regarding the ownership and use of the "Passetto di Borgo" and taking into account the common interest in cooperating for the care and appreciation of the historic and artistic patrimony?defines the usage of the Watchtower for the purpose of authorizing the movement of the public within and outside of the monument and of preparing the adequate infrastructures to allow access for persons with disabilities.
This agreement is part of the overall project for the restoration and appreciation of the "Passetto di Borgo" on behalf of the Italian Ministry of Culture, with the purpose of opening this historic corridor leading to the Castel Sant'Angelo National Museum to the public. The memorandum of understanding, which consists of a preamble and eight articles, entered into effect upon its signing.
Vatican City, 14 February 2013 (VIS) – In a previous story about the future conclave to elect Benedict XVI's successor it was erroneously stated that the number of cardinal electors could vary according to the date that the conclave commences.
In fact, this number is independent of the date that the conclave begins because John Paul II's Apostolic Constitution "Universi Dominici Gregis", which will regulate the conclave, establishes in no. 33 that cardinals who have reached their eightieth birthday before the day when the Apostolic See becomes vacant will not be cardinal electors.
For that reason, for example, Cardinal Walter Kasper, who turns 80 on 5 March will be an elector, as is also the case for Cardinal Severino Poletto, who turns 80 on 18 March.
Vatican City, 14 February 2013 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father appointed Msgr. Laurent Percerou as Bishop of Moulins, (area 7,381, population 347,900, Catholics 346,000, priests 102, permanent deacons 17, religious 273), France. The bishop-elect was born in Dreux, France in 1961 and was ordained a priest in 1992. He has served in several pastoral and administrative roles for the diocese of Chartres, France, most recently as assistant for the Scouts et Guides de France, director of diocesan catechetical services, and vicar general of that diocese.

Vatican City, 13 February 2013 (VIS) – Before his catechesis in the General Audience this morning, the Holy Father spoke of his decision to leave the pontificate. Interrupted by the applause of the crowd filling the Paul VI Hall he said:
"As you know, I have decided?thank you for your kindness?to renounce the ministry which the Lord entrusted to me on 19 April 2005. I have done this in full freedom for the good of the Church, after much prayer and having examined my conscience before God, knowing full well the seriousness of this act, but also realizing that I am no longer able to carry out the Petrine ministry with the strength which it demands. I am strengthened and reassured by the certainty that the Church is Christ’s, who will never leave her without his guidance and care. I thank all of you for the love and for the prayers with which you have accompanied me. Thank you; in these days which have not been easy for me, I have felt almost physically the power of prayer?your prayers?which the love of the Church has given me. Continue to pray for me, for the Church, and for the future Pope. The Lord will guide us."
Vatican City, 13 February 2013 (VIS) – Benedict XVI dedicated the catechesis of today's General Audience to the season of Lent, which begins today, Ash Wednesday. "Forty days," he said, "that prepare us for the celebration of Easter. It is a time of particular commitment in our spiritual journey. … Forty days was also the period that Jesus spent in the desert before beginning his public life, when he was tempted by the devil."
Reflecting on Jesus' temptations in the desert, is "an invitation to each of us to respond to a fundamental question: What is truly important in our lives? … The core of the three temptations that Jesus faced is the proposal to instrumentalize God, to use Him for personal interests, for self-glory and success. In essence, it is putting oneself in God's place, eliminating Him from our existence and making Him seem superfluous. … Giving God the first place is a path that each Christian has to undertake. 'Conversion' … means following Jesus, so that His Gospel becomes the practical guide of our lives. … It means recognizing that we are creatures who depend on God, on His love ...This requires us to make our decisions in light of the Word of God. Today it is no longer possible to be a Christian as a simple consequence of living in a society that has Christian roots. Even those who come from a Christian family … must renew daily their decision to be Christian, to give God the first place in the face of the temptations continuously suggested by a secularized culture, in the face of the criticism of many of their contemporaries."
"The tests that Christians are subjected to by society today are numerous and affect our personal and social life. It is not easy to be faithful to Christian marriage, to practice mercy in our everyday lives, or to leave space for prayer and inner silence. It is not easy to publicly oppose the decisions that many consider to be obvious, such as abortion in the case of an unwanted pregnancy, euthanasia in the case of serious illness, or the selection of embryos to avoid hereditary diseases. The temptation to set one's faith aside is always present and conversion becomes a response to God that must be confirmed at various times throughout our lives."
The Holy Father recalled that in history there have been "great conversions such as St. Paul's on the road to Damascus or St. Augustine's. But also in our age, when the sense of the sacred is eclipsed, God's grace acts and works wonders in the lives of many people … as was the case for the Orthodox Russian scientist Pavel Florensky who, after a completely agnostic education … found himself exclaiming, 'It's impossible without God.' He completely changed his life, even becoming a monk." The Pope also cited the case of the intellectual Etty Hillesum (1914-1943), "a young Dutch woman of Jewish origin, who died in Auschwitz. Initially far from God, she discovered Him by looking deep within herself, writing: 'There is a well deep within me. And God is that well.' … In her scattered and restless life, she rediscovered God in the midst of the great tragedy of the twentieth century, the Shoah."
"In our age, there are more than a few conversions that are seen as the return of those who, after a Christian education, perhaps a superficial one, have turned away from the faith for years, then later rediscover Christ and His Gospel. … In this time of Lent, in the Year of Faith, we renew our commitment to the path of conversion, overcoming the tendency to be wrapped up in ourselves and to make room for God, seeing our everyday reality with His eyes. Conversion means not being wrapped up in ourselves in the search for success, prestige, or social position, but rather of making each day, in the small things, truth, faith in God, and love, become what is most important," the Pope concluded.
Vatican City, 13 February 2013 (VIS) – The Holy Father sent a message to the faithful in Brazil for the Fraternity Campaign that takes place in that country every year during Lent, and that has the theme of "Fraternity and Youth" this year.
"The path of Lent opens before us permeated with prayer, penitence, and charity, to prepare us to experience and to participate more deeply in Jesus Christ's passion, death, and resurrection," the Pope writes. "In Brazil, this preparation has found valuable support and encouragement in the Fraternity Campaign, which this year celebrates its 50th anniversary and which is coloured by the spiritual overtones of the 27th World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro this July."
"I gladly join in this Lenten initiative of the Church in Brazil and I send each and every one of you my cordial greetings in the Lord, to whom I entrust the efforts of those who are committed to helping the youth become … 'protagonists of a more just and more fraternal society inspired by the Gospel'. The 'signs of the times' in society and in the Church also arise through the youth. Disregarding these signs, or not discerning them, means losing opportunities for renewal. If they are part of the present then they will also be part of the future. We want the youth to be protagonists and to be integrated into the community that welcomes them, which demonstrates the confidence that the Church has in each of them. This requires guides?priests, consecrated persons, or lay persons?who remain young at heart even if they are not young in age, who are capable of walking without imposing a march, capable of solidarity and empathy, capable of giving the witness of salvation, which is nourished by faith and the following of Christ every day."
Vatican City, 13 February 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Pope sent a message to participants in the meeting of the Board of Governors of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), which celebrates its 36th anniversary this year.
The Holy Father praised "the methodology followed by IFAD, which gives ongoing development priority over mere assistance, and places the group dimension alongside the purely individual dimension, to the point of setting up forms of interest-free grants and loans, often choosing, as the primary beneficiaries, the 'poorest of the poor'. This activity shows that approaches inspired by the principle of gratuitousness and by the culture of gift can 'find their place within normal economic activity' (Caritas in Veritate)."
"Indeed, the approach taken by the Fund is to link the elimination of poverty not only to the fight against hunger and the guarantee of food security, but also to the creation of work opportunities and institutional decision-making structures. It is well known that when these elements are missing, the involvement of rural labourers in choices that affect them is restricted, hence reinforcing their sense of being limited in their capacity and their dignity."
"In this area there are two specific lines taken by the Organization that are to be commended. The first is the constant attention given to Africa, where, by supporting projects of 'rural credit', IFAD aims to endow small farmers with modest but essential financial resources, and to empower them in the decision-making and administrative phase as well. The second line is the support given to indigenous communities, which have a particular care for preserving biodiversity, recognized as a precious good that the Creator has placed at the disposal of the entire human family. The safeguarding of these peoples’ identity needs to be given priority, and their indispensable role in handing down traditional know-how needs to be acknowledged."
"The Catholic Church, in her teaching and her activity, has always upheld the centrality of the worker on the land, urging concrete political and economic action in areas that affect him. This stance, I am happy to observe, harmonizes with the Fund’s approach in underlining the role of farmers, as individuals and as small groups, thus actively involving them in the development of their communities and countries. This attention to the person, both individually and collectively, will be more effective if it is achieved through forms of association, both cooperatives and small family businesses with the wherewithal to produce an income that is sufficient to support a decent standard of living."
Referring to "the next International Year that the United Nations has chosen to dedicate to the rural family," the Pope added that it will promote "a deep-rooted and sound notion of agricultural development and of the fight against poverty, based on this fundamental cell of society. IFAD knows from experience that the family is at the heart of the social order, and what serves to regulate family life, prior to the laws of a State or international norms, are the moral principles inscribed in the natural patrimony of values which are immediately identifiable in the rural world as well. These principles inspire the conduct of individuals, the relationship between spouses and between generations, and the sense of shared ownership. To ignore this reality, or to fail to recognize it, would be to undermine the foundations not only of the family, but of the entire rural community, with consequences whose gravity is easily foreseeable."
Vatican City, 13 February 2013 (VIS) – Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, presented the Holy Father's activities up to 28 February.
Tomorrow, as announced in Tuesday's briefing, Benedict XVI will meet with the Roman pastors in the Paul VI Hall. On the 15th he will receive, respectively, the "Pro Petri Sede" association and the president of Romania. On the 16th he will meet with the president of Guatemala. On those same days he will meet with the Italian bishops from Liguria and Lombardy on their 'ad limina' visits. However, the audience with the president of Cameroon, which was scheduled for 28 February, has been cancelled as well as the 'ad limina' visits scheduled with the Italian prelates from the Le Marche region between 25 and 28 February. On Saturday the 16th at 6:00pm, the Pope will meet with the Italian Prime Minister, Mario Monti, and the following Saturday, the 23rd in the late morning, with the Italian President, Giorgio Napolitano. "Both," Fr. Lombardi clarified, "have expressed the desire to meet briefly with the Pope."
From the 17th, after the Angelus, until the morning of the 23th, the Holy Father and the Roman Curia have the Lenten Spiritual Exercises, which will be led this year by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi. As is traditional, for the Wednesday of that week there will be no general audience and no activity with the Pope is planned. On the 24th, he will pray the Angelus with the faithful who are gathered in St. Peter's Square.
On the 25th, the Holy Father will receive some of the cardinals in a private audience. On the 27th, the general audience will take place in St. Peter's Square. On the 28th, the last day of his pontificate, Benedict XVI will meet with members of the College of Cardinals in the Clementine Hall and at 5:00pm he will travel by helicopter to Castel Gandolfo.
The period of Sede vacante begins on 1 March. All the visits and activities that call for the Pope's presence during that time are therefore cancelled.
Finally, the director of the Holy See Press Office recalled that when the period of Sede vacante begins, the congregations of cardinals to prepare for the conclave also begin. The congregations have a number of juridical requirements to meet along with serving to exchange viewpoints regarding the problems to be addressed, the situation of the Church, etc., so that each of the members of the College of Cardinals might develop his criteria regarding the election of the new Pope. For this reason, the regulations provide that the beginning of the conclave be established between 15 and 20 days from the beginning of the Sede vacante. "If everything goes normally, it could be envisioned," Fr. Lombardi said, "that the conclave begins between 15 and 19 March. At the moment, we cannot give an exact date because it falls to the cardinals to determine it."
Vatican City, 13 February 2013 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father appointed Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca as auditor general of the Apostolic Camera. Bishop Sciacca, titular of Fundi, is the secretary general of the Governorate of Vatican City State.



way_of_the_crossAs a possible resource for the Year of Faith, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has invited the Commissariat of the Holy Land in Canada to arrange a special text for the Stations of the Cross. Prepared for celebrations of the Way of the Cross this Lent and on Good Friday, the new pastoral resource includes prayers for peace in the Holy Land. “In the Way of the Cross – Way of Faith we also recall the bonds of communion and solidarity that unite Christian communities in Canada with those in the Holy Land and throughout the Middle East, especially the Church in Jerusalem,” the Most Reverend Richard Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton and President of the CCCB, writes in his introduction.
An illustrated version of Way of the Cross – Way of Faith is available online for personal prayer and meditation. The English and French texts without the illustrations are also available with the dioceses of Canada, and are online so they can be freely downloaded for use by parishes or other groups. The resources are available on the CCCB website, as well as on the website for the Commissariat of the Holy Land in Canada. The Commissariat's website also includes other resources for prayer and meditation. The illustrated web version of Way of the Cross – Way of Faith includes photographs from the 2002 World Youth Day Way of the Cross.



I ask you my Valentine, Is love all we need?

Thursday 14 February 2013

ST  VALENTINE’S Day reminds us of the innate desire we all have for love –to both  give it and receive it. This longing is at the centre of our search for happiness. But how often do we reflect on what love is really about? Is it just a fleeting feeling that sooner or later lets us down, or is it something much deeper? The feast day of St Valentine – an early Christian martyr – is truly a day to remember “a love to die for”.

Who was St Valentine?
St Valentine was a priest in Rome in the third century during the rule of Emperor Claudius II. His association with young lovers is well known even in modern times. The story goes that Claudius, urgent to recruit soldiers for his armies, decreed that all weddings be suspended so as to encourage more single, unfamilied men to serve in combat. Seeing the anguish of young couples forbidden to marry, St Valentine performed secret weddings in defiance of the Emperor.
He was eventually arrested and imprisoned. While awaiting execution, St Valentine restored the sight of his jailer’s blind daughter. On the eve of his death, he penned her a farewell note signing it, “From your Valentine”.

On February 14, 269 AD he was beheaded. He is the Patron Saint of engaged couples and married lovers.
To find out more about St Valentine and ways to show gratitude for the loved ones in our lives go to the Australian Catholic Marriage and Family Council website here.

Source: Catholic Marriage and Family Council



Jesuit leaders call for prayers for Pope and his successor | The British Jesuit Provincial ,Pope Benedict, Fr Dermot Preston SJ, Jesuit Superior General, Fr Adolfo Nicolás SJ,

Pope Benedict with Fr Nicolás
The British Jesuit Provincial is encouraging all members of the Province and their co-workers to pray for Pope Benedict, for those who will elect his successor and for the man who will take over as Pope within the next few weeks. Fr Dermot Preston SJ echoed the sentiments of the Jesuit Superior General, Fr Adolfo Nicolás SJ, who wrote today of the 'respect and admiration' felt by the Society of Jesus for the Pope, following his announcement yesterday that he intends to resign on 28 February.
"We recall the consoling experience of encounter with him [Pope Benedict] during the 35th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus five years ago, when the Holy Father expressed his confidence in and closeness to the Society of Jesus, and challenged us to 'reach the geographical and spiritual places where others do not reach or find it difficult to reach'," wrote Fr Nicolás. "We are profoundly grateful for the trust and inspiration Pope Benedict has given us through the years of his pontificate," he added.
Fr Preston spoke of the warm relationship that has existed over the eight years of Pope Benedict's papacy. As examples of the rapport between the Pope and the Society, he highlights contact between both the present General and his predecessor, Fr Peter-Hans Kolvenbach SJ, whose resignation he accepted in 2008 when he reached the age of 80 - a move that perhaps foreshadowed Benedict's own decision. Two years earlier, Pope Benedict had appointed a Jesuit - Fr Federico Lombardi SJ - as Director of the Vatican Press Office, as well as Director of Vatican Radio and Vatican Television.
In his letter to the Society of Jesus across the world, Fr General Nicolás reflected on the importance of the relationship between Jesuits and the Holy Father, saying: "In the spirit of the fourth vow that unites the Society in a special way to the Roman Pontiff, let us pray for Pope Benedict XVI, and let us recommit ourselves to the mission which he has entrusted to the Society.' He concluded by urging Jesuits and their co-workers - alongside the whole Church - to 'pray in a special way for the enlightenment and guidance of the Holy Spirit, as a new Successor of Peter is sought and elected.'


Agenzia Fides REPORT - "On the anniversary of the revolution anything could happen" said to Fides Agency His Exc. Mgr. Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli, just days before the second anniversary of the uprising which broke out on February 17 2011 in Benghazi that eventually led to the fall of the Gaddafi regime.
The most critical situation is precisely in Cyrenaica, of which Benghazi is the capital, where several religious congregations have decided to leave (see Fides 31/01/2013).
"All the nuns of various religious orders left Cyrenaica (from Tobruk, Beida, el Merj, Derna)" confirms Mgr. Martinelli. " Just the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of Ivrea have remained who have been in Benghazi for some time. The Apostolic Vicar of Benghazi, Mgr. Sylvester Carmel Magro, was advised to leave the Church and find another accommodation these days, " continues Mgr. Martinelli.
"Even in Tripoli, where the situation is calm, we have been advised to be careful and not to move. A warning that in any case has been extended to all Europeans. The city is preparing for the celebrations with joy but security measures have increased in fear of attacks, " says the ApostolicVicar of Tripoli. (L.M.)


by mons. Peter Kang U-il
The President of the Korean Bishops' Conference recalls the "deep concern" and "constant efforts" of the Pope in favor of the North Korean people and urges the faithful to "keep this loving shepherd of the universal Church in your heart, through constant prayer."

Seoul (AsiaNews) - On February 11, 2013, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI declared that he is resigning his ministry as Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter the Apostle, as he recognizes his incapacity to properly fulfill his holy ministry because of his deteriorating health due to advanced age. Though we are taken aback at his unexpected decision, we can feel his love and care for the Church filling his heart to the full. Therefore, we accept his enlightened spiritual discernment and courageous decision with our highest regard.
As the successor of Saint Peter the Apostle as well as the Vicar of Jesus Christ, the Holy Father has devotedly served the Universal Church and the whole world for the last eight years, in spite of the repeated admonition of his close medical advisors. We are saddened by the fact that he is not as healthy enough as before to carry out his ministry, as we can sometimes recognize this even by his walk. Nevertheless, he has exerted himself for the Church of the suffering, as well as for peace in Africa and the Middle East. He has also engaged in interreligious dialogue in an active manner.
We cannot but express our deep gratitude for his prayer and encouragement for the Church in Korea and for the Republic of Korea on every possible occasion. Especially, he has shown a deep concern for the North Korean people in their extreme destitution and he has spared no effort to provide financial aid for them.
We firmly believe that the Holy Father as a true pastor of the Catholic Church will continue his service for the faithful after laying down the heavy office of the Supreme Pontiff. I hope that all the faithful in Korea will strengthen their spiritual bonds with him through constant prayer, remembering him as a loving pastor in our hearts for good.


Luke 9:
 22 - 25

22saying, "The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised."
23And he said to all, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
24For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it.
25For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?a